Lough Ouel and Lough Ennel

J. Stirling Coyne & N. P. Willis
c. 1841
Volume I, Chapter V-6 | Start of chapter

At Ballymahon we took passage to Mullingar in one of the iron fly-boats on the Royal Canal. These boats, which are constructed on an improved principle, are drawn by two horses, and travel with sufficient rapidity to compensate, in some measure, for the very limited accommodation they afford to passengers. Being built almost wholly with a view to swiftness, they are made extremely sharp and narrow, and are in this respect a vast improvement on the unwieldy old passage-boats, that literally have been unable to keep pace with the march of knowledge in travelling.

The vicinity of Mullingar is adorned with numerous villas and mansions of the gentry; and the face of the country, though not strikingly picturesque, is luxuriant in wood and water. Several beautiful lakes are scattered throughout this district; and two of the most beautiful of these sheets of water, Lough Ouel and Lough Ennel are situated within a short distance of Mullingar. The first of these is a sweet little lake, about a mile in width, and not more than three in length, boasting—it is true—none of the sublime characteristics of Killarney, the wild magnificence of the mountain lakes of Connemara, or the solitary grandeur of Gougaune Barra or Glendalough; yet excelled by none in the softer traits of pastoral beauty, and the many charms of richly cultivated hills and verdant lawns, sloping gently to the margin of the tranquil lake, which holds in its fond embrace—

—————"The gay

Young group of tufted islands born of him."

Lough Ennel, or as it is now called Belvedere Lake, lies between two and three miles south of Mullingar: it is somewhat larger than Lough Ouel, and its scenery partakes of a similar pastoral character. Its eastern shore, adorned with gentlemen's residences, has a rich park-like appearance; and the numerous woody islands that are scattered over its surface add considerably to the beauty of the picture.